Although we often hear about the topic, the details of the life of a butterfly can be fascinating. Butterflies go through four stages which we call metamorphosis, the first stage of which is the egg. A butterfly’s eggs are extremely small – about the size of a pinhead, and sometimes smaller yet – and will usually be laid on a food source, such as milkweed for monarch butterflies.
Once the egg hatches, the first thing the tiny caterpillar will eat is its own eggshell. The caterpillar will grow larger and larger as it munches on leaves day after day. Each time it becomes too large for its skin, the caterpillar goes through a process known as “moulting,” which is when it sheds its skin; the caterpillar will do so about five times during its larva stage.
One day, the fat, wormlike, and most likely colorful caterpillar will stop eating. It will attach itself to the bottom of a branch or leaf to moult one more time. This time the shedded skin will become what we know as the chrysalis. During the time that the caterpillar is in this chrysalis – usually ten to fourteen days – it will transform dramatically. Its digestive fluids will actually digest the caterpillar itself! The new organs of the butterfly-in-the-making will form as the caterpillar’s cells reveal the information needed to create the winged creature that must emerge in the next stage. Piece by piece the insect is put together until finally one day it is ready to leave its enclosure.
It will push open the chrysalis, which by now has softened and turned transparent, and crawl out. Its wings, so well known for their bright colors and perfect details, look shriveled and small. The butterfly cannot fly in that condition, so to fix that problem, it pumps fluid from its abdomen into tiny vein-like tubes in the wings. The wings will stretch out, displaying the stunning colors and intricate designs that God has carefully painted on its fragile wings.
After a couple hours during which the butterfly has stood still and patiently, the wings will have already dried off, and the fluid in them will drain back to their abdomen. Now the butterfly can fly off, fluttering its wings and settling on fragrant flowers to drink energy-giving nectar through its long, straw-like “tongue.” Not only can it enjoy its surroundings now as it flits through the air, but it can help us enjoy nature more too.
The stages of a butterfly’s life fascinates us because of all the details and design it obviously took to create this celebrated insect.
Hey guys! I hope you enjoyed this essay and learned something from it!!
Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while, but soon I’ll post a character page (suggested by BookwormJo!) for Rivals & Runaways and after that Chapter 3. I hope to also post more short stories or essays or whatever…